It was the borrowed mate’s cabin on the Syrian ship and it was strung with salt-hazed Christmas tree bulbs. A stuffed red heart swayed left, held, swayed right, held, and did so again, eternally, above the coffin bed. The ship shuddered through waves. It yawed under the shuffling ballast of 855 unlucky camels. Out the stern porthole, in the muzzy night, Africa receded like youth.
Milestones on the Human Trail
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is retracing on foot the global migration of our ancestors in a 21,000-mile, seven-year odyssey that begins in Ethiopia and ends in Tierra del Fuego. This site houses our experimental journalism, cartography and educational initiatives. For the walk’s storytelling, please visit outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com.
By the year 2020, the Out of Eden Walk will have accumulated an unprecedented chronicle of human life on Earth, 2,500 generations after our restless forebears set out on the long, slow walk into our becoming — a journey out of Eden that continues to this day. Learn more »
Every 100 miles (160 km) Paul is making a concise digital record of his location — a narrative Milestone. Each consists of a visual panorama, photographs of the ground and sky, ambient sound at that location, and a brief, standardized interview with the nearest person.
Milestones are a slow accumulation of narrative data sets, a consistent record collected at nomad’s pace on a global scale. What will they ultimately tell us about ourselves?
My name is Isabelle. I’m in 7th grade. I think what you’re doing is really cool and brave. I can’t wait to see the pictures of the amazing places you will go. You are doing something that took our ancestors 60,000 years to do, which is just amazing …
Visit our updated Map Room section to trace Paul Salopek’s completed walk route through a new, more detailed map layer based on GPS data. Interested readers can also download the route data in a range of formats, for use in Google Earth or other geographic software.
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